Category Archives: pulp fiction

Time Traps in Time Travel

The Clock That Went Backward   by Edward Page Mitchell (1881)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    October 18, 2016

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If I were to ask you what is the earliest time travel story you know, most would say H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine (1895). Or if you were a time travel fiction buff you might say Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889). Are you a fan of Charles Yu’s Science Fiction Universe or authors like Robert Heinlein of the 1940s? Of course, you’ve heard of Isaac Asimov’s The End of Eternity and Stephen King’s 11/22/63.

I’m betting that this time travel short story will be a new one for you: The Clock That Went Backward.

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We are in Sheepscot, Maine, with Aunt Gertrude when time turns. In Aunt Gertrude’s house is an old Dutch clock with a death-head transfixed by a two-edged sword at the top. No pendulum. The time is stuck at 3:15—always. Harry and his cousin are visiting Aunt Gertrude and this night sleeping upstairs—until noises are heard downstairs. They creep down the steps to find Aunt Gertrude with her withered cheek against the old clock, and kissing it. The hands of the clock begin to move backwards. And Auntie falls dead.

 

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This had to have been a ground-breaking story at its time in 1881. Author Edward Page Mitchell’s name doesn’t come swiftly to mind when we think of time travel; he is one of the forgotten American science fiction authors. His stories were popular in the 1870s to 1890. Nearly all his stories were published anonymously in The Sun, a New York newspaper. And nearly all were occult, bizarre, ghostly, devilish, and about inanimate objects coming to life. The Crystal Man in 1881 hit readers long before Well’s The Invisible Man in 1897. Tachypomp was about a thinking computer.  Mitchell was influenced by Poe and wrote over 25 short stories in his lifetime. He was known to have no desire for public recognition. Today Mitchell is considered one of our ‘lost giants’ in the science fiction genre of literature. Discovering Edward Page Mitchell is a treat and a privilege!

 

 

Read it online: The Clock That Went Backwards cute_vintage_dutch_windmill_sailboat_delft_blue_large_clock-r582230ac3a42442c861af41947475ae0_fup13_8byvr_324

at  Forgottenfutures.com

 

Listen to the Audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nb-ei6-DeMw

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

 HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

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Filed under fiction, Halloween stories, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, occult, paranormal, pulp fiction, Reading Fiction, science fiction, short stories, short story blogs, tales of terror

The Magic of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventure of The Copper Beeches  by Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror   September 20, 2016

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There is a magic in Sherlock Holmes stories, the atmospheric London fog, hansom cabs clacking over cobbled streets, the famous parlor at 221-B Baker Street with Holmes and Watson sitting before a cozy fire and a steaming teapot—or refreshing themselves with glasses of claret as in the The Adventure of the Dying Detective.

Today’s short story is The Adventure of the Copper Beeches. Violet Hunter is our heroine, curious and independent, but in need of Mr. Holmes’ advice when she takes a governess position at the country estate called Copper Beeches, near Winchester. Mr. Rucastle is an odd sort with a wife who carries a secret sorrow, and their savage boy who adores capturing little birds and bugs.

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“Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.”

The story unfolds like the tick-tock of a clock, so I won’t say another word. Although Holmes doesn’t exactly solve the crime, the adventure is suspenseful, with a touch of romance. Enjoy this 20-minute read.

Read the short story at EastoftheWeb.com 

Listen to the audio, read by Mark Smith on YouTube.com 

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The Science of Deduction by Sherlock Holmes: Forum, Hidden Messages, Case Files:

 http://www.thescienceofdeduction.co.uk/

The Sherlock Holmes Official Website.

The Blog of Dr. John Watson Official Website.

Need a cup of tea with this story? Settle back and enjoy this story along with a pot of “Sherlock Holmes” blend of tea (lapsang souchong, assam melody, oriental spice), which is ‘exotic and mysterious and perhaps a little bit insane, with a lingering hint of smoke’ at Adagio Tea Company. See Comment #1 below for link.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every other week! Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

 HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

 

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The Last Night of the World, A Ray Bradbury Story

Last Night of the World  by Ray Bradbury, published in Esquire, 1951

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror    August 23, 2016

 

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What would you do if you knew that this night was the last night of the world? Would you meet it with grace? Bravery? A last indulgence? Panic? Would you examine yourself for a good or bad life?

A married couple are sitting at the dinner table talking.

She asks …  “And when will it stop? The world, I mean.”

He replies … “Sometime during the night for us, and then, as the night goes on around the world, those advancing portions will go, too. It’ll take twenty-four hours for it all to go.”

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In this sci-fi story (I’m not a sci-fi fan but I really liked this story because it provoked deep thinking), people have the same dream on the same date in February about the end of the world. If you were the characters in this story, would you  believe the end was really coming? Or maybe, just maybe you might think it’s the beginning of a time loop … like in a parallel world?  Or maybe it was true that death will strike soon after closing your eyes this night.  What if?

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Reading time on this story is 5 minutes. Got 5 minutes and cup o’ joe? Wow, this is a compelling dive into everyone’s greatest fear of knowing you will be the last conscious beings when the world ends on a cold night on February 30. Yes, February 30!

 

Read the short story here at Esquire.com.

Listen to the audio drama at Behance.net.

Watch the Ray Bradbury Theater on You Tube

 

FOR THE WRITERS HERE: Lit Reactor.com has Five Ray Bradbury stories that will tell you everything you need to know about writing.

 

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Ray Bradbury, termed the “poet of the pulps,” said in an interview in the Paris Review, The Art of Fiction (2010) that he was “completely library educated. I’ve never been to college … I discovered me in the library.” He died in 2012 at the age of 91. 

Book Review: Zen and the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury.

 

 

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories.

Follow my blog and join me in reading a short story every other week!

Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror

 HorrorAddicts.net     Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com     

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

EZindiepublishing

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Filed under fiction, horror blogs, mysteries, pulp fiction, Reading Fiction, science fiction, short stories, short story blogs, suspense, tales of terror

The Girl With The Hungry Eyes

The Girl With the Hungry Eyes  by Fritz Leiber  (1949)

 Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  April 12, 2016

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Remember Rod Serling’s Night Gallery? He did a film adaptation of Fritz Leiber’s The Girl With the Hungry Eyes and although dated and little hokey, it’s still a fun 25-minutes. With James Farentino, Joanna Pettet, John Astin.

Leiber is well known for his stories that mesmerize. In this story, the author asks … what is the hidden hunger of millions of men? Lust? Justice? Revenge? Dave is a photographer looking for just the right model for an advertisement. Who walks into his studio?  “The girl.” He photographs her. And then things get spooky. Is she real? Is she supernatural? Is there a murder? And what is her hidden hunger?

Come on, you got to read this one.

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Read the short story in PDF at BerkleySchools.org/NorthStarMedia. Click here to download the PDF:

Watch the short film by Serling’s Night Gallery at The Quill & the Keyboard.blogspot.

Also on Hulu.com: http://www.hulu.com/watch/58767

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Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of over 170 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories. Join me in reading one short story every other week! 

Comments are welcome.

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

4 Comments

Filed under crime stories, crime thrillers, dark fantasy, fiction, horror blogs, murder mystery, pulp fiction, short stories, short story blogs, tales of terror

Writing is Survival. Ray Bradbury’s Zen

Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing

Book Review and Commentary  February 11, 2016

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So, how’s your literary cosmos been lately? Need a boost? Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing was published in 1996, but the wisdom here is timeless. The creative side to writing fiction, the joy, the muse, the long road ahead that Bradbury explores in these chapters will inspire and cheer you.

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Bradbury asks, what does writing teach us? “To be alive!” Yeah, and his energy is on every page of this book. Zest, gusto, excitement! He echoes what Stephen King says about writing fast and furious in a heat. Bradbury advises “The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write, the more honest you are.” No self-conscious writing now; honesty is the key to real stories. He wants us to leap upon the truth.

While Bradbury has written hundreds of stories in some forty years, he states that each tale was a way to finding himself. I really liked this idea because writing is a destination and often times the journey is in the dark. From the tone of this book, Bradbury sounds like he is ruthlessly honest with himself.

The Characters

His suggestions about creating characters are simple: “Find a character, like yourself, who will want something or not want something with all his heart. Give him running orders. Shoot him off. Then follow as fast as you can go. The character in his great love or hate, will rush you through to the end of the story.” Hot diggity! I love this idea. Let go of all the controls and have fun. Have you ever let a character just move and speak on the page without directing? That kind of writing can be so exciting.

The Plot

Plot? Oh my, he’d get a big fat F from most traditional writing teachers for this one: “Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations. Plot is observed after the fact rather than before. It cannot precede action.” This man totally speaks my language since I never plot my novels in the early drafts.

The Muse

And then there’s the Muse. This chapter alone “How to Keep and Feed a Muse” is worth the price of the book. Here the subconscious rules, the mighty intuition. This fantastic storehouse inside us is the source of all creativity. What to feed your muse? Bradbury says to read poetry every day. Dive into books of essays. Don’t be a snob though, help yourself to equal parts trash and treasure. And feed your senses; take long walks and observe and absorb. To keep the Muse you must work regularly, work well, and “stay drunk on writing.” Stay alive!

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If you are thinking you have to slant your stories for the commercial market or slant it for high literary kudos, Bradbury say both directions are wrong and thwart the honesty of the writer and the truth of the story. He names it a lie to write in such a way aimed at being rewarded by money in the commercial market. It is also a lie for the “self-conscious literary” writer to quill a few paragraphs a day imitating the flourishes of Virginia Woolf or Jack Kerouac. Free yourself of literary cant and commercial bias.

Bradbury believes that “quantity will make for quality” because quantity gives experience. So what’s his formula?

WORK (Hard work will take on its own rhythms)

RELAXATION (Gives rise to deeper relaxation)

DON’T THINK. (Unthinkingness results in greater creativity)

 

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Available on Amazon.com or your local library.

 

This book is a keeper for me, a book to read once a year to energize and awaken. Bradbury has a thought that is probably a good mantra for any writer …

“To fail is to give up.”

Take a read of  this at The Paris Review, The Art of Fiction, Interview with Ray Bradbury

 

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Visit the RayBradbury.com website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next on my list, I’m reviewing Jack Grapes’ “Method Writing” which focuses on finding the writer’s deep inner voice and activating the creative process to empower your writing. Can’t wait!

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images-1My Recommended List of the Best Writing Books I’ve Read.

 

On Writing Fiction, A Memoir of the Craft by

Stephen King (read book review here)

 

 

Writing Fiction, A Guide to Narrative Craft, by Janet Burroway. All the basics of how to write: the writing process, show vs. tell, characterization, fictional atmosphere and place, story structure and plot, point of view, theme, and revision.
Story, Robert McKee
Story Trumps Structure, Steven James
The Fire in Fiction, Donald Maass
The Art of Fiction, John Gardner (I reread this book once a year, it’s that good)
Making Shapely Fiction, Jerome Stern
The Art of Character, David Corbett
Getting into Character, Brandilyn Collins
The Secret Miracle, the Novelist’s Handbook, edited by Daniel Alarcon
Becoming a Writer, Dorothea Brande
The Faith of a Writer, Life, Craft, Art, Joyce Carole Oates
If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland
Reading like a Writer, Francine Prose
Elements of Style, Strunk & White

Best Editing Books for Writers:
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne & Dave King
A Dash of Style, Noah Lukeman
The Grammar Bible, Michael Strumpf & Auriel Douglas
Line by Line, Claire Kehrwald Cook
The Careful Writer, Theodore M. Bernstein
Chicago Manual of Style

Comments welcome!

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, fiction, horror, horror blogs, literary horror, psychological horror, pulp fiction, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural mysteries, supernatural thrillers

Zuvembies and the Voo-Doo Man

Pigeons From Hell    by Robert E. Howard  (1938 Weird Tales)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  January 26, 2015

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Come to the old south, to Blassenville Manor. Who doesn’t love a Southern Gothic horror story?  Blassenville Manor is long abandoned when two young men stumble upon this decaying mansion and decide to spend the night.

‘The old deserted house stimulated their imagination with its suggestion of antebellum splendor and ultimate decay. They left the automobile beside the rutty road, and as they went up the winding walk of crumbling bricks, almost lost in the tangle of rank growth, pigeons rose from the balustrades in a fluttering, feathery crowd and swept away with a low thunder of beating wings.

 ‘The oaken door sagged on broken hinges. Dust lay thick on the floor of the wide, dim hallway, on the broad steps of the stair that mounted up from the hall. They turned into a door opposite the landing, and entered a large room, empty, dusty, with cobwebs shining thickly in the corners.’

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I won’t ruin the suspense (and this story is truly high suspense), but  I will say the story includes a secret room, People of Damballah, and yes, a hatchet-stroke in the dark.

 

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In Danse Macabre, Stephen King’s nonfiction book about the horror genre, he writes that, Robert E. Howard’s Pigeons from Hell, is “one of the finest horror stories of our century.” See if you agree.

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Robert E. Howard fans favor his stories about explorer Solomon Kane and Conan the Barbarian. Weird Magazine fans revere him as one of the best in weird and fantasy fiction. At the age of thirty in 1936, he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

 

 

 

 

Read the short story (three parts) at Gutenberg.net.au.

Listen to the audio (1:19 hours) on YouTube.com

Watch the 50-minute film (adaptation), Boris Karloff’s Thriller Theater on YouTube.com

Visit the Robert E. Howard Foundation.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror.

 This is a compendium of over 160 short stories by over 100 master storytellers of mystery,  supernatural, horror, and ghost stories.

 Join me in reading one short story every week!

 Comments are welcome.

 

Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

PulpFiction.com

Books & Such   Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine     HorrorAddicts.net  

Horror Novel Reviews    HorrorSociety.com

Monster Librarian     HorrorNews.net     HorrorTalk.com

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed

February is Women in Horror Month.  Stop by for shorts stories by women authors for the entire month. And not just horror but mystery, supernatural, fantasy too.

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Filed under classic horror stories, fiction, horror, horror blogs, pulp fiction, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, suspense, tales of terror